Back on the Road

9 Mirtul 1368

We travel for half a day back to the Friendly Arm Inn without incident. Inside we meet some old friends, including Xzar and Montaron.

Aegon: As much as your mental state unnerves me, I do have need of your company once more.

Xzar: Hurrah! I’d have us all sing with joy, but I’m sure such an outpouring would come dangerously close to making me sick. Onward, and all that.

Screw it, I feel like mixing things up a little. We had a character death, so these guys should have joined our party anyway, and since we’re already in the Friendly Arm…

Both Xzar and Montaron are in a rush to get to Nashkel.

This is actually why I wanted to avoid picking them up: they will leave permanently if we don’t get to Nashkel in time. I think we still have a few days before that happens, so we should get to Nashkel in time.

Finch decides to spend some time studying her books here. Rose tells me she will meet us in the Burning Wizard if we pass through Beregost again.

Morwen takes a look at Xzar’s robe. She tells us it’s a Robe of Fire Resistance.

We go upstairs to find Landrin, and I tell Drake about the pantaloons I was supposed to dry clean.

Drake: I knew nobles were one step away from eccentricity into full-blown madness, but how could anyone in their right minds walk around wearing anything this gaudy?

…you’re not going to give it back to the man, are you? I think you’re doing him a favour taking these off his hands.

Landrin is happy to see her husband’s old boots.

I also show her the GIANT spider corpse to prove that we killed them.

Finally I reach into my pack and pull out the wine.

Xzar looks injured, so Kagain gives him the remaining gooseberries. We go to Thorengrim so Xzar and Montaron can get properly equipped.

Xzar gets a helmet and a small shield.

I think it’s kinda fun to be able to equip mages like this. Not fully armoured, but with some protection.

Montaron buys an enchanted sling with some ammo.

Halflings get a +1 racial bonus to THAC0 with slings, so his THAC0 is actually better with this weapon than with his short sword even without proficiency. I wanted him to have a ranged weapon, since he has lower hit points compared to the rest of the party at the moment. If he gets too close to an opponent he could easily be taken out.

Xzar and Montaron insist we make our way to Nashkel now. We leave the Friendly Arm and start making our way south.

10 Mirtul 1368

We travel through the night without incident. We pass through Beregost and make our way to the Trade Way that leads to Nashkel. We hear what sounds like a girl crying in the distance.

We come across a young boy alone out here.

Drake: Do your parents know where you are?

Shelligh: Momma thinks I’m playin’ at Betsie Finkle’s house, but her grandma smells funny so I never go there. I just told Momma I was there so she wouldn’t worry. I’ll pick some fruit or berries or whatever, and Momma can make pies to sell or something. I’m safe ‘cuz I’m small and quick.

He gets back to picking berries and we continue down the road. Drake’s concerns for the child are justified when we spot an ogrillon on the main road.

Morwen lands a couple of strikes with her bow and it drops to the ground.

Drake goes to check the corpse, but there is another ogrillon and it’s angry.

It’s just as easy to kill as its friend.

We find the body of a halfling on the road. The ogrillon pair must have just killed the poor thing.

We find a silver ring and a scroll on the bodies of the ogrillon.

This must be the news that Mirianne has been expecting! It’s a shame the halfling messenger didn’t make it. I suggest we go back and deliver the letter, but Xzar and Montaron both protest. They really want to get to Nashkel as soon as possible. I tuck the letter into Bartleby’s bag. I’ll have to deliver it later.

Further down the road we meet the girl we heard crying.

She sniffs.

Kessy: Uaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahaaaaaa!!!

Drake: Hush, little one. Why are you crying?

Kessy: Waaaahahahaaaaa! Jumper! Uaaaaahahahahaaaaa!

Drake: Jumper? Who is that?

Kessy: Jumper is goooohooohooooooone! Uaaaaaaaaaaah!

Drake: Oh my goodness. Who is this Jumper?

Kessy: Jumper is my rabbiiiiit! Uahaaaaaaaah, my lovable cuddly fuzzy rabbiiiiiiiiiiiit! And now he’s goooohooohooooooone!

There’s an option to slap the child in the face here. Seems a little extreme…

Drake: Maybe I can help you. Where did you lose it?

She sniffs.

Kessy: He scampered that whaaaahahay!

She points toward the west of the road.

Kessy: Oh please find him quickly, he’s so smaaaaaaaaaall!

She continues to cry.

Drake: Alright, I’m going to find it for you.

Kessy: Oh, yes please! Please please please find my Jumper! I’ll give you even one thousand million pieces of gold for it! Please please please!

I doubt she has that much money, but Drake wants to do a good deed, so we will help. Xzar and Montaron reiterate that we’re in a hurry, but begrudgingly agree to go along with things.

We go west, away from the road. We find a house that has sunk into a pond. There is a man standing outside who seems overly protective of this derelict abode.

Maybe he thinks it can be pulled out of the water somehow? It doesn’t matter, it’s none of our concern.

Drake spots a glint coming from a nearby tree. He reaches into a hole and pulls out a key.

Strange place to find something like this. It’s not what we are looking for though. I start to get tired so I consume some gooseberries to help keep me awake.

We continue west and find a cave with a hobgoblin nearby.

Morwen lands an arrow right in its chest and it falls to the ground.

Drake moves to loot the corpse and is attacked by two more hobgoblins.

Kagain takes one down.

An archer moves in to support the remaining hobgoblin.

Morwen kills the third hobgoblin, and we turn to the archer.

It tries to retreat, but Morwen chases it down.

They have some minor equipment, gold, and jewellery on them. But one of them has boots that turn out to be good for an assassin.

They fit Montaron well.

We return to the cave. Maybe the rabbit wandered in here? We find not a rabbit, but an ogre. And yet there is something moving in its hands…

Ugh: Haaaahahahahahahahaha!

Yes, Little-Ugh rejoices when Ugh brings beautiful fresh herbs!

Feast and feast, Little-Ugh. Then you will become large and strong!

The rabbit nibbles the herbs.

Ugh: Oh, Ugh is the happiest ogre in the world! Has found the best friend in the world!

Montaron: Is that… a rabbit?

Ugh: This Little-Ugh. Ugh has found and takes care of Little-Ugh.

Montaron: Your rabbit is called Little-Ugh?

Ugh: Yap. Little-Ugh is best friend of Ugh.

Montaron: This wouldn’t be Jumper, right?

Ugh: No Jumper here! Only Ugh and Little-Ugh!

Montaron: Ugh, this is a house rabbit and not a wild rabbit. It clearly comes from a breed and not out of the woods. Look at the clean fur. This animal is clearly a human’s pet.

Ugh: Er…

Montaron: Do you understand the words coming out of my mouth?

Ugh: Little-Ugh is Ugh’s best friend.

Montaron: This animal is called Jumper and belongs to a little girl!

Ugh: Little-Ugh belongs to a girl? Why you no tell, Little-Ugh?

Montaron: This girl is pretty sad, Ugh.

Ugh: Oh. Ugh does not want a girl sad.

Montaron: Then you should give us the rabbit, Ugh.

Ugh: But if Little-Ugh is gone Ugh is all alone again.

Montaron: Ugh, I swear that I will do everything I can to end your misery. Give Jumper to me and it shall not be your loss.

Ugh: If halfling swears, then Ugh agrees.

The ogre sniffs.

Ugh: Farewall, Little-Ugh. Ugh will never forget you.

To our amazement, the ogre tenderly gives the rabbit to Montaron!

Belts and rabbits; is it common for ogres to have weird obsessions like these? I’ll have to ask Helga next time I see her.

Drake has a quick look through the cave before we leave and finds 5 potions of healing. Ugh doesn’t seem to mind us taking them.

On our way back to the girl we are attacked by more hobgoblins.

They aren’t a problem for us.

We strip their corpses of anything we can sell before returning to the little girl.

Drake: How are you?

Kessy: I… I miss my Jumper.

Drake: Hey, look who’s here!

Kessy: Juuumpeeeeeer! Jumper Jumper Jumper! I got you again! Oh, thank you, sir, thank you thank you thank you!

Drake: Say, you would not know where one could get a rabbit as lovely as yours, wouldn’t you?

Kessy: A rabbit like Jumper? There is no rabbit like mine in the whole wide world. But maybe you want to talk to dad, he breeds and sells bunnies and rabbits. He is probably at the carnival in Nashkel.

Right. And we go home now, Jumper! Happy I am!

Montaron is surprised Drake asked about another rabbit. He says he was bluffing when he said he would help the ogre.

We continue down the path and are harassed by Flaming Fist Mercenaries.

Drake: Oh, this is rich. For a moment I thought I’d stepped on home ground without realizing it. How far are you behind your arrest quota that you’d resort to this, soldier?

Flaming Fist Mercenary: Shut your mouth, Amnian. You’re only giving us more reason to put you in chains.

Drake: You’ve got the wrong guys. We’re not part of any bandit gang.

Flaming Fist Mercenary: Really now, why should we believe you?

Drake: Well, because of my warm smile and honest demeanor.

Flaming Fist Mercenary: Sweet talking won’t help you at all.

Drake: Arrest us then.

Flaming Fist Mercenary: We’re not taking you in alive, murdering swine!

Yes, of course I am doing this because I want their armour. I never really trusted the Flaming Fist whenever I played this game – they always seemed pretty corrupt to me. This will be the first example of many where it seems the Flaming Fist are in the wrong.

They draw their weapons. We ready ours.

We hurt one mercenary hard as the others close in.

Xzar moves away and casts a Sleep spell.

All three mercenaries fall asleep.

Now they are unconscious we are able to pick them off one…

…by one…

…by one.

I thought we would need to avoid bandits, not the Flaming Fist! Oh well, their good equipment is our good equipment now. Drake takes the plate mail off one of the mercenaries.

With the winged helmet, he looks like he could be one of the Fist!

This armour increases his base damage resistance to 36%, instead of 24% with the Chain Mail +1. It does come at the cost of being heavier and further reduced Dexterity, which means he is less accurate with the Sling. He can still hit just as well with his Rift Hammer though, so he’s a better tank this way.

We strip the rest of the corpses and move on. More hobgoblins attack us on the road.

We’re used to dealing with these by now.

This area seems to be riddled with hobgoblins. Drake is worried they may attack the children that come here to play, and thinks we should clear as many of them out as we can. Montaron and Xzar push for the party to keep moving toward Nashkel. I suggest a compromise. We will spend a couple of hours scouting the area, then we will keep moving south.

We start our patrol and find two more hobgoblins that we save from the burden of life.

Montaron spots some more hobgoblins by the sunken house.

Unfortunately it spotted him first and he is dropped by an arrow.

Dammit – I didn’t realise it was an archer. I would have been more careful if I’d known.

Cat takes care of the hobgoblin.

Xzar gathers up Montaron’s things. We will have to return to the Song of the Morning to revive him. We decide to finish our sweep of the area before we do so.

Nearby, we run into an ogre hunter.

Kagain: I sure could use another talented hunter in the party, What do you say?

Bub Snikt: This ain’t no team sport, not for me at least. I work alone. Don’t need you showing me down. Take a walk, kiddo.

Kagain seems angry at this, but then, he is a dwarf. An ogre hunter? I hope he doesn’t find Ugh’s cave. Two more hobgoblins ask us to give them the sweet release of death.

We keep scouting and find some more.

They offer to give us their equipment.

Further south we encounter gibberlings. They aren’t a problem.

We keep patrolling for a short while, but we encounter no more hobgoblins. Drake suggests we have done enough for now.

Xzar insists we go back and raise Montaron. We make it to the temple with no trouble. Kelddath raises Montaron in exchange for 100 gold.

He needs time to recover, and Xzar decides to stay with him again. They tell me they will meet me in the Jovial Juggler when they are ready to go to Nashkel again.

Since we encounter ogre-kin on the road to Nashkel, I tell the others I know an ogre hunter in the Friendly Arm Inn. They agree we should pick her up before we go south again.

11 Mirtul 1368

Back at the Friendly Arm we run into Verr’Sza in his human form.

Aegon: Yes.

We also ask Helga to join us again.

Aegon: Join me.

Helga: Well, what are we waiting for? To the cleaving!

Morwen tells Verr’Sza how his scimitar is enchanted.

Helga takes one of the suits of plate mail we took from the Flaming Fist. We also buy her a sling.

24 THAC0, I know. But she has low hit points and I don’t want her to be picked off like Montaron. She can still move in close if she gets an opportunity.

It’s dark right now, so we decide to spend the night at the Inn before we leave.

On our journey back to the Trade way we are waylaid by two half-ogres.

Drake moves to engage one of the half-ogres, while Verr’Sza transforms back into his natural form.

The half-ogre on Drake’s side falls to an arrow in the neck.

Verr’Sza severely wounds the remaining half-ogre, but leaves himself open.

Morwen takes yet another victim.

This encounter reminded Helga how to fight ogres.

I heal Verr’Sza and we continue south toward Nashkel.

I hope we don’t encounter any more hobgoblins on the road. Given what we’ve encountered so far, however, I doubt it. We’ve been hearing about the troubles on the road, now we’re witnessing them first-hand.

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